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Kristi + Nate

CW: Child loss

“You have our permission to share Nate’s story—but you should know that it ended on September 26 at 9:24 p.m.”

Those were the words we got from Kristi after we reached out about an update on a grant her family had received for a wheelchair-accessible van needed by her 7-year-old son, Nate. He had recently gotten a new wheelchair that no longer fit in either of the family vans. Kristi had heard that Together Rising helped another family with a similar situation so she applied late last spring. 

Last summer, Nate had spent 69 days in Boston Children’s Hospital, where it was discovered that his left lung had collapsed. He was finally discharged with stage 2 renal failure caused by sepsis. As they were processing this new diagnosis, Kristi got an email that she had gotten the grant from Together Rising for his van. This meant that he would no longer be homebound.

“Nate was able to go for many rides to look at the trees, which he loved doing. He was also able to go to all of his medical appointments in comfort, rather than on a small stretcher in an ambulance. Overall, having the van really added to the quality of his life for the five months he was home. The van made it possible to go to the end-of-year picnic for the Friday enrichment program he attended. There he was able to see all his classmates and say goodbye. At the time we didn’t know it was the last time he would see most of them, and I am so thankful he got that chance.”

Nate passed away on September 26, 2023. 

“I just want you all to know that though he didn’t get to use his van for as long as we had thought he would, it had a huge impact on the quality of his life for those last few months. I am so grateful for that. Driving that van every day is one of the connections to Nate that I cherish. We go every Sunday in it as a family to visit Nate’s grave and I go after work mid-week to see him. A few people have asked if we will get rid of the van now that we ‘no longer need it.’ I plan to drive that van until it won’t drive any more. It has so many good memories of Nate attached to it, I can’t bear the thought of parting with it.”

As Kristi came to the end of her update, her desire for Nate’s story to be shared became even more clear. 

“I know this wasn’t the story you probably expected me to share. I will understand if you don’t use his story, but thank you for giving me the opportunity to share it. Sometimes I worry that he will be forgotten and that his beautiful life will stop impacting people now that it has ended.”

Thank you for being part of shaping Nate and Kristi’s story for the better. And thank you for being here now, as a witness to Nate’s life. It matters.